The housemaid remains a fixture in many Nigerian middle-class families, attesting to the social stratification in the dominant culture. Ironically enough, not many Nigerian novelists have significantly dramatized the plight of domestic servants, the world of servitude that entraps many of their kind.
Readers of Amma Darko’s Beyond the Horizon, Chika Unigwe’s On Black Sisters’ Street, and Ifeanyi Ajaegbo’s Sarah House may find Onyeka Nwelue’s The Strangers of Braamfontein familiar, especially in its discussion of sex trafficking of African women.
Hadero shows us two worlds, dialectical at best: one of ease and comfort, enjoyed by foreigners, and the other of lack and precarity, experienced by locals. The “new” Ethiopia, depicted in her story, has no space for the poor and their “homes made of cloth and rags and wood.” This depiction typifies the irony at the heart of capitalist modernity pursued by the neocolonial elite.
Cheluchi Onyemelukwe’s debut novel, The Son of the House, won the award for Best Fiction Writer at the 2019 Sharjah International Book Fair.
in search of an alternative male identity